Monday, October 19, 2009

Say Cheese for Spuds!

First and foremost – let’s hear it for a fellow blogger, Julie Hyzy, for winning the Barry and the Anthony Awards for her debut novel, State of the Onion!!!

Wahooooooooooooooooo, Julie!!!!!!

Needless to say, Julie looks as happy as a kid on Christmas, right? Everyone was wishing her well. And the well-wishing was well-deserved. Her debut novel is a fun, "thrill-sy" book. (Combination cozy and thriller.)

Now, check out her second, Hail to the Chef. You won't be disappointed.

And now for today’s blog.

Warning: this blog is not diet-conscious. There is butter and crème fraiche and cheese involved. [Oh, hooray, right?]

Comfort food.

Why are there days when we crave it? Supposedly, in ancient times, people ate heavier foods as winter drew near to pack on extra pounds to weather the, um, weather. A harsh, cold winter didn’t provide the best assortment of veggies, know what I mean? But that’s not the only reason to enjoy comfort food. The main reason to crave it is because…IT’S GOOD!

My protagonist in The Cheese Shop Mysteries, Charlotte Bessette, loves a good stuffed potato. The sports bar in her fictional town of Providence, Ohio, Tim’s Tavern, serves a different baked potato each week. Here’s a sample.

For this recipe, I used a Seaside Cheddar from Ford Farms, located by the sea in a beautiful part of Dorset, England. Check out their website: Ford Farms.



1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. crème fraiche
1 large brown-skinned potato
2 Tbsp. chives, snipped
2 Tbsp. Seaside Cheddar Cheese, diced


Lay potato on foil. Brush potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap foil tightly around the potato.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Open the foil, slice the potato lengthwise. Press at ends to “pop” open. Using a fork, break up the meat of the potato. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. crème fraiche. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. snipped chives. [Note: I use scissors to snip chives. So easy to make a consistent cut.]

Layer with 2 Tbsp. diced cheese.

Put under broiler for 6 minutes, until cheese melts and becomes a light golden brown.
Remove from oven, set on plate with extra chives and pepper. Sprinkle top of potato with chives.

Serve hot as a main “vegetarian” entrée.

Note: if you’d like this as a side dish…before broiling, cut potato in half, top each portion with half the ingredients, and broil for 6 minutes.


  1. I LOVE potatoes. They're how I survived my college existence...I ate a potato EVERY day because I didn't like the dining hall food! This looks wonderful--thanks!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Small world, Daryl! I just tasted this cheese at a Whole Foods last week. It was absolutely delicious. Must be terrific on a potato!

  3. GREAT PHOTO of Julie!! (I totally want that blue suit!)

    Like Elizabeth, I've always found a single baked/stuffed potatoe a quick, cheap, and deliciously filling lunch or light dinner. Bacon and I have a special kind of relationship so some freshly fried crumbles would probably make it over the top of mine! Will have to keep an eye out for the Seaside English Cheddar. (These cheeses you have been recommending have names that are so poetic or visually suggestive. I can just see the rolling green hills by the choppy blue waves!)

    Cheers and thanks again, Avery, for bringing us the news from Bouchercon and the wonderful photo of our own Anthony and Barry-Award winning mystery cook - Julie Hyzy! Woot!

    Today LIVE! Free coffee drawing at 7 PM (Eastern)
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Congratulations to Julie!
    Well deserved!

    And those potato recipes I see here have made me decide I better read the posts on this blog after lunch instead of before. Now I'm starving.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. How do you spell out the sound of a scream??
    Thanks everybody for all the great support and good wishes and ... everything. I'm finally back online after being without the Internet for so many days!

    Thank you for all the congrats! I'll be posting more tomorrow, if you guys don't mind. Lots of celebrating going on here!

    Daryl, I love this potato idea. Never thought of brushing it with olive oil first. I can't wait to try this. My veggie daughter's going to be thrilled. And the cheese, c'est magnifique! Hey, blog-sister, thanks for being there this weekend. Thanks for the pics and for posting here. You're just such a doll!


  6. Cleo, bacon sounds like a wonderful addition!

    Elizabeth, please tell me you didn't really post at 3:53 in the morning! I need a nap just thinking about it.

    Morgan, I have to agree. My co-bloggers post recipes that make me hungry!

    Yaaaaay, Julie! We're so proud of you!

    I have to try Daryl's trick of olive oil on the potato. I like to rub potatoes with butter and then sprinkle with salt before baking. I do that for the grill, too, but I wrap them in foil, which I don't bother to do if they're going in the oven.

  7. Mmm, these do sound good for colder weather. There's nothing like cheese and potatoes when you're talking about comfort food.

    Congrats to Julie!!

  8. This recipe sounds delicious and yummy!!
    I haven't heard of Seaside English Cheddar though.
    Any ideas I could use for a substitute?
    Cheese and potatoes...does it get any better?


  9. Do you know what I wish?
    That I could be a stay at home mystery reader and read all your fabulous books!!
    Boy...wouldn't that be fun!!! :)